The MIK Engels House will not only be officially reopened in time for Friedrich Engels' 200th birthday on 28 November 2020 after extensive renovation work, but will also be veiled: On the front façade of the building a textile panel stretched in a huge frame will be attached, providing space for a mosaic of individual black-and-white portrait photos of 200 Wuppertal residents who share their thoughts on Wuppertal's most famous son with their very personal Engels messages.
In the foreground of the approximately 10 by 16 metre banner hovers a large transparent head of the young Friedrich Engels - the juxtaposition of yesterday, transformed into today for tomorrow.
By participating in the worldwide INSIDE OUT PROJECT (IOP) of the internationally renowned French street art artist JR, a visually stunning attention for the person of Engels is generated and a connection between the people of Wuppertal* and the Engels House is created.
"It is about bringing Friedrich Engels into the here and now - beyond facts, figures and historical backgrounds. To place him in a modern, contemporary context, to arouse the attention of all generations and the interest of all ages in dealing with the person of Engels and the question of what he means today and who he would be today," explains curator Valentina Manojlov about the art project INSIDE OUT ENGELS. According to the curator, participation in the INSIDE OUT PROJECT, one of the largest art projects in the world, will raise the Engels Year 2020 to a new level of perception: "And not only here on site in Wuppertal, but worldwide, it will give 200 messages from the city an international hearing. The Engels House will become a place of remembrance in our minds, even when the Engels Year is over and the work of art has been dismantled".
"CAN ART CHANGE THE WORLD? MAYBE WE SHOULD CHANGE THE QUESTION: CAN ART CHANGE PEOPLE'S LIVES?" (JR)
Here the spirit of a great historical personality breathes: Friedrich Engels (1820-1895). The son of a factory owner from Barmen was a real all-rounder: philosopher, social critic, historian, journalist, communist revolutionary, military expert, cosmopolitan, besides a linguistic genius, sporty, communicative and hard-drinking, but always a gentleman and basically a workaholic,
for Karl Marx „a true universal encyclopaedia“.
Already in the 19th century he recognized the pitfalls of capitalism. Friedrich Engels completed his commercial training in his father´s cotton mill in Manchester. The miserable situation of the workers in England particularly touched him. He took it as an opportunity to also theoretically deal with the textile industry, which operated with a high capital investment and the latest technology and was initially the leading sector of the “Industrial Revolution”.
His work "Umrisse zu einer Kritik der Nationalökonomie (Outlines of a Critique of National Economy)" (1844) had a lasting influence on Karl Marx, who had studied philosophy and law. Through Engels, Marx found his way to economics. The symbiotic friendship between these two lateral thinkers led to an extraordinarily productive working group with over one hundred writings. The best-known and most influential work was "Das Kapital (Capital)" by Karl Marx (volume 1 of three volumes waspublished in 1867). Engel´s important socially critical opus "Die Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England (The Condition of the Working Class in England)" was published in 1845.
“Proletarians of all countries unite!” This famous sentence ends the “Manifesto of the Communist Party” published by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx in 1848. Karl Marx, the theorist of scientific socialism, and Friedrich Engels, the practitioner of economics. Both are among the important personalities of the 19th century, who have had a lasting influence on the contemporary history of the 20th century.
In the historic Engels House there is an exhibition with original documents on the life and work of Friedrich Engels and his family.
This permanent exhibition in the Engels House is currently being modernized and is closed!
The MIK Engels-Haus will reopen on 28.11.2020!